When looking at real estate in a golf community, it's easy to get distracted by the stunning natural landscapes, the immaculate fairways, the luxury clubhouses, and the opulent lifestyle that can accompany golf course living. Wake up! This also represents a serious investment and possible lifestyle change, and you owe it to yourself to do your due diligence and not rush into an emotional buy.
Before you start touring those gorgeous model homes, sit down and go through this checklist to help determine exactly what you want from your new venture.
Where do you see yourself living? Are you enticed by oceanfront property, mountains which may double as a winter ski location, or maybe a dry desert climate? Wherever you choose, it should be someplace you sincerely want to be, not someplace that later, you wish you'd never chosen.
Is the timing right for your new golf course lifestyle? If you're not at the stage of your life where you can appreciate all the amenities your new home has to offer, this may not be the right timing for such a move. If this is a vacation home ensure it offers what you want as well as a convenient location that you'll use often.
The club may have plenty of great features, but what's located outside your community? If you have to drive an hour to get to a grocery store, go to a movie, or visit your doctor, this may not be the best choice. Are there other activities or places that interest you close by? If you like to golf, and are an avid fisherman, you might want to find a place with a lake nearby. It's all about choices - that golf course may start to feel restricting if that is all you have.
Is it an easy location to access? If your dream community is located on an island where access is by boat or plane, you need to consider whether you are ready to deal with the inconvenience. Mind you, some may feel the remote location is just what they're looking for.
Research the developer and inspect their track record. Are they famous for delayed, over budget projects, or do they deliver what they promise and on time? Are they easy to contact, or do you find yourself forever leaving messages or dealing with a full voice mail box? Talk to other residents and some of the staff to get a feel for the quality of management at the community.
What is the property going to be like 10 years from now? If the neighborhood appeals to you because it's fairly private and moderately populated, find out how many future builds they are approved for. You may be investing in Phase 1 with 10 more phases to go. That scenic view of the lake may turn into someone's backyard wading pool in a few years.
Understand the club membership plan. What may seem like a great deal today may simply be an introductory special. What is included with the fees and how much can you expect it to increase each year? Consider the members as well. If this is largely a senior occupied community and you have young children, is there enough available to interest them. Some facilities have generational memberships that include all the immediate family members. If you're wife and kids plan on using the facilities, this makes sense.
Test out the golf course. If the course looks pretty on the outside, but you get bored after playing it for a month, you've got a problem. It should be well kept, well run, and provide enough of a challenge to keep you coming back. After all, you're in this for the long haul.
Joshua Sloan is your experienced Realtor for San Diego California real estate . Visit his website at SanDiegoRealEstateBuzz.com to view the San Diego County real estate listings.